Parents all over the country know that they need to make a plan for their children's well being in case they're ever incapacitated or if they pass away unexpectedly. While these decisions can be difficult for families with typical children, they can be even more complicated if one or more of the children have special needs. Special needs children take more consideration so if you have one, use these tips to make sure that they're taken care of after you're gone.
What Does A Trust Do For A Special Needs Child?
Trusts are ideal ways to financially provide for children after you're gone. Since children are too young to effectively manage their money, it goes into a trust where it is held until a child reaches a certain age. A trustee is appointed to manage the money and to ensure that it's used for the child's care, such as medical and education expenses.
However, special needs children often require more assistance. Depending on the level of needs, the children could qualify for government assistance, and any assets that are a part of a special needs trust are not considered when applying for government benefits. This can help ensure that your child qualifies for all the entitlements they should. If the funds are put into a regular trust, the child could be required to use all these funds before they qualify for assistance, leaving them penniless as they grow older.
Why Guardianship In Chicago Is Important
Guardianship in Chicago is important for any parent, but it's especially vital for special needs children. These children could require a great deal of assistance, even after they turn 18. For this reason, parents must choose their guardian carefully. When someone agrees to a guardianship in Chicago for a child with special needs, the guardian needs to know that they're agreeing to be responsible for the child well after he or she turns 18.
Additionally, when you're determining who should provide guardianship in Chicago for your children, realize that a special needs child can require a lot of patience. Many people, especially people who haven't performed day-to-day care for a special needs child, may not have the coping skills and support needed. Before you name someone to provide guardianship in Chicago, have an honest conversation about what this means for his or her lifestyle.
Who Can Help You Arrange A Trust And Guardianship In Chicago?
Once you know who you want to name as a guardian, it's important to contact someone who can help set up a trust and draw up the paperwork for the guardianship in Chicago. Many people are tempted to handle this themselves using DIY forms found on the Internet, but this is a terrible idea. Instead, contact an estate planning attorney who is skilled in trusts and guardianship in Chicago.
If you're not sure how to properly protect your special needs children after you're gone, let Peck Ritchey help. Their experienced and knowledgeable attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of estate planning, including trusts and guardianship in Chicago. To contact an attorney today, please visit http://www.peckbloom.com/peckbloom_contact.html.
After spending a large portion of his career fighting for the best care and financial strategies for his clients with Alzheimer’s disease, Peck Ritchey, LLC Managing Partner Kerry Peck co-wrote the book Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law in hopes that people use it as a manual to better understand the legal options that are available before and after a diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law is a new book aimed at helping readers better understand the legal implications that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis has over an individual’s future.
Written by Chicago Litigation Lawyer Kerry Peck and Rick Law, Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law is designed to give attorneys the knowledge needed guide their clients diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The book addresses ethics, health care options, asset protection strategies, and other long term care planning.
Additional contributors to this book include Brandon Peck and Diana Law. The book’s Forward was written by acclaimed author Scott Turow.
This book will answer a variety of questions including:
- How do we get health care for the patient?
- What are the ethics of working with clients with Alzheimer’s?
- What options are available for health care?
- How are these options going to affect the patient and the family/spouse?
- What is the long-term outlook for everyone?
- How can we protect the family assets?
For more information about Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law visit http://apps.americanbar.org/abastore/index.cfm?pid=1620569§ion=main&fm=Product.AddToCart
At Peck Ritchey, LLC we are more than just lawyers who help our clients navigate the legal system. We are lawyers who care about our clients. We care about their well-being and the well-being of their family members as they go through some of life's toughest transitions.
One example of this is setting up a guardianship in Chicago. It's a very difficult decision to choose to create a guardianship for an aging loved one and we understand that. That's why we offer emotional, legal and practical support to our clients as they face these decisions.
Yes, we can help you set up a guardianship in Chicago, but we won't leave you on your own once it has been established.
5 Ways Peck Ritchey Can Help Ease The Transition Of Guardianship In Chicago
There are many issues that arise as we age. One of the most difficult decisions an adult child can make is whether or not to establish a guardianship for their parent(s). Making that decision requires careful consultation with an attorney and other family members, but even after a guardianship has been set up, there are needs to be met. We can help you find the resources you need to navigate the transitions that caring for aging relatives bring.
1. Legal Knowledge. Sometimes, a guardianship isn't the best solution. We can analyze your situation and give you advice as to whether you should pursue a guardianship or if some other arrangement would work better such as power of attorney, a living will or surrogate decision-making.
2. Estate Planning. Depending on the type of guardianship created, you may find yourself responsible for your parent's estate. If they do not have an estate plan in place, a Peck Ritchey lawyer can help you create one. This can help ensure there are funds available for long-term care of the parents, to help you meet your tax obligations, or to make plans for nursing home care down the road.
3. Senior and Social Services. We are very active in the Chicago community and have developed strong working relationships with the many senior and social service agencies in the city. Guardians may find themselves under a lot of stress and pressure with their added responsibilities and could benefit from counseling or joining a support network of people going through the same challenges. We can help put you in touch with agencies that can make the transition to guardianship in Chicago easier on you and on your loved ones.
4. Social Security and Medicaid. It's not unusual for adult children to have questions about how Social Security and Medicare or Medicaid work once their parent is under a guardianship. If you have trouble obtaining access to benefits due to your parent(s), contact us. We can look into the situation and help you gain access to the benefits you are due.
5. Outside Care. Guardians still have their own lives to live. If you need help finding in-home care, suitable nursing homes, or end-of-life or hospice care for your loved one, we can recommend reputable agencies and review any documents or papers you are required to sign. If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, contact us immediately. We can investigate the situation and ensure actions are taken to protect your loved one right away.
It's a very common situation: Your elderly parents or grandparents simply cannot take care of themselves any longer. Perhaps your mother keeps forgetting to take her heart medication, or your grandfather has become so frail that he can't move around his home anymore. Perhaps the situation has even progressed as far as full-blown dementia. Whatever the specifics of the case may be, you've come to realize that your beloved relative needs someone to take care of her.
So what can be done about that? After all, it's not like you can just swoop in and take over a grown adult's affairs without consent. Luckily, there is a specific field of law that has provisions in place for this very situation called elder law. Chicago law firm Peck Ritchey has extensive experience in this field and can help you come up with a solution for how to care for your loved ones.
Conservatorship And Elder Law In Chicago
Obtaining control over an adult's affairs is known as guardianship or conservatorship. This goes a step further than a simple power of attorney. Conservatorship becomes appropriate only when an adult is determined to be disabled and completely unable to care for himself. There are several different levels of adult guardianship that may be appropriate depending on the unique situation.
It's important to know right at the outset what type of guardianship you would like to pursue. If full guardianship is necessary, then the guardian, or appointee, would have complete control over the elder's affairs, including medical and financial details. These duties can be shared with another competent adult as co-guardianship. If the situation does not require such full control, then a limited conservatorship may be the better option. The potential ward may only need help with financial matters, for example, or for making decisions about her medical care. It's also possible that you may only need to be the conservator for a short period, such as after an illness or surgery.
After you know what type of guardianship will be appropriate, your next job is to prove that your relative is unable to care for herself. The judge will not just take your word for it in such a serious matter; instead, you will need to consult a physician. That doctor will perform a thorough exam of your loved one and provide a physician's report that includes an explanation of whether he or she believes that the patient is incapacitated and why. Once you have this report, you can file a petition with the court.
What Happens Next?
After you've filed the petition, the judge in charge of the case will appoint a guardian ad litem. This is the term for a lawyer who will be responsible for representing the elder's rights in the case. The guardian ad litem will consult with his or her client in order to form another opinion over whether or not that person should be made a ward.
Copies of the petition will also be provided to the alleged ward and to your other relatives at least 14 days in advance of the court hearing. This way, no one can obtain conservatorship of a senior citizen without the knowledge of the rest of the family. This dramatically reduces the likelihood of elder abuse; for example, someone obtaining guardianship of a wealthy older person and then stealing all of the money.
During the court hearing, your job will be to convince the judge not only that your elderly relative is completely disabled, but that you would be an appropriate conservator. If you can state your case convincingly and have the corroborating opinions of both the guardian ad litem and the physician, then your request will most likely be granted.
Naturally, this process is more complicated than it sounds, and just like with any legal matter it requires scads of paperwork and forms to fill out correctly. And since the laws and regulations vary from state to state, it's always a good idea to consult with a specialist in elder law. Chicago area law firms will be able to assist you with guardianship cases in the state of Illinois and will be an invaluable resource to you. With the assistance of a qualified attorney, you can make sure that your elderly loved ones are protected.
It’s only natural for most people to put off getting an estate plan in order. But what people may not realize is that if a medical emergency happens, like a car accident or a stroke, their medical wishes and treatment may not be handled in the manner they would have liked.
Say your mother is in the hospital and incapacitated. Unless you are her Power of Attorney, you may not be able to make decisions with regard to her treatment.
It’s never too early to put Powers of Attorney in place because this will allow the person you select to make the decisions for your medical treatment as closely to your wishes if you become unable to make choices for yourself. But it can be too late to get this important legal document drafted!
If you wait too long and suffer a brain injury or get a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease you may have to get a guardian; this can be a complicated legal matter you may wish to avoid.
Since you cannot plan for medical emergencies it’s best to be proactive. Drafting a will and securing Powers of Attorney are the first steps in protecting your future-and one less thing to worry about when a medical emergency does occur.
Guardianship is a tricky subject for many families. It's difficult when it becomes clear that a loved one can no longer care for himself, especially if he was a self-sufficient adult at one time. If you're unsure what a Chicago guardianship lawyer can do, learn more about how they can help families throughout difficult times.
A Chicago Guardianship Lawyer Can Help Minors
The most commonly understood guardianship is when both parents of a minor child have died. If the parents have left a will, it should name who will be guardians of the child. If there was no will, a Chicago guardianship lawyer can help establish guardianship with the court. This can be straightforward if only one person steps forward, but more complicated if loved ones disagree on who would be the best guardian for the child.
Additionally, a Chicago guardianship lawyer can help grandparents or other loved ones step in if the parent is neglecting a minor child or even if a parent is a member of the military and needs to be deployed to a far away location. Guardianships do not sever the parent-child relationship and it's possible to relinquish guardianship for a limited time.
A Chicago Guardianship Lawyer Can Help The Mentally Ill
It's possible to have someone declared mentally ill and a Chicago guardianship lawyer can help loved ones assert control over their medical and financial decisions. One of the most famous cases of this type of situation was the case of Britney Spears a few years ago. She became even more famous when she shaved her head and attacked paparazzi with an umbrella, and people all over the world expressed concern over her behavior. In this case, her parents — specifically her father — realized she needed help and stepped in. He went to court and asked to be granted guardianship, though in California it was called a conservatorship. (The two terms are not completely legally interchangeable, so make sure to talk to an attorney if you need to understand the differences.)
This meant that Britney's father was legally responsible for her financial decisions, but he also decided where she lived and which doctors she should see. It's quite clear to anyone that this was the right decision for the Spears' family, as Britney just finished a successful run as a judge on the X Factor. It was unclear whether Britney's conservatorship would end any time in the near future.
A Chicago Guardianship Lawyer Can Help Seniors
Lastly, a Chicago guardianship lawyer can help seniors if they're unable to make decisions for themselves, including medical and financial decisions. Seniors can be particularly susceptible to falling for financial scams and a guardianship can help protect their assets from this. Additionally, having a guardian can help ensure that seniors receive the medical care they need, especially if they're suffering from health problems like dementia or Alzheimer's.
These are only three instances in which a Chicago guardianship lawyer can be of service. If you're not sure whether your situation requires this arrangement, contact Peck Ritchey. We can take a look at your specific situation and help you determine whether a guardianship could benefit your family.
If you've ever watched a movie in which someone dies and their friends and family members gather around wearing black for a reading of the will, you might be surprised to find out that this actually doesn't happen in real life — it's just a Hollywood trick. While probate attorneys in Chicago do manage the filing of a will after someone dies, it's done without ceremony. However, that doesn't mean that you don't need help from probate attorneys in Chicago. If you're not sure whether probate attorneys in Chicago can help your family, ask yourself these questions.
Can Probate Attorneys In Chicago Help If Family Members Don't Agree With The Will?
In many cases, a will is straightforward. However, in some instances, it can cause major strife among family members, especially if there are multiple assets that need to be divided. If one or more family members feel as if they're being slighted, they could contest the will in court. If family members don't agree, it could mean a lengthy court case that rips families apart and drains the assets from the estate.
Does The Estate Include Business Assets?
Another reason to hire probate attorneys in Chicago is if the estate includes a business. This is because handling business assets and transferring ownership could be a complicated process. Instead of leaving the company susceptible to errors, many families choose to turn to probate attorneys in Chicago for help when dealing with a business.
Has The Deceased Taken Steps To Avoid Probate?
In some states, probate is necessary. In Indiana, for instance, if the estate is worth more than $50,000 and assets aren't owned jointly with another person, probate is required. However, in Illinois, it's possible to create a living trust to avoid probate. Probate attorneys in Chicago who also handle wills can help create these documents. Ask your attorney about a transfer on death clause for your assets. This means that the assets in your estate — normally property, vehicles, bank accounts and retirement accounts — all automatically transfer to your beneficiary when you die instead of being locked up in probate.
What Else Do Probate Attorneys In Chicago Do?
However, probate attorneys in Chicago aren't just helpful when someone has died. Many people hire these professionals to draft a will so that they can determine where their belongings end up and to minimize fighting among family members after they've died. They can also help create a living will, which is a very different type of document. While a regular will, or 'last will and testament,' determines which family members receive death benefits from a life insurance policy, the contents of a retirement account or even property, a living will helps family members know what medical decisions you want made in case you're unable to make them yourself.
Probate attorneys in Chicago can help your family members through the rough time following your death. While no one really enjoys thinking about their death or what will happen to their assets when they die, coming up with a plan before it's needed is one of the kindest things someone can do for their family. If you're not sure how to proceed, talk to Peck Ritchey. Our probate attorneys in Chicago are experienced in helping clients plan for the future.
If you haven't yet prepared a will, you're probably putting it off because you aren't sure what to include, how to structure it to protect your heirs or even how to establish a trust for your children. That's perfectly normal – most individuals are confused by the many laws surrounding a last will and testament, but you can quickly get clarification from a Chicago will attorney at Peck Ritchey. Rather than run the risk of leaving behind a confusing or invalid will, talk to us about having your will prepared properly. We can help you avoid the following common mistakes:
Mistake #1: Neglecting To Assign An Executor Or Chicago Will Attorney
While the courts can appoint an executor for your estate, it's best to choose a person you know and trust as the executor of your will. Almost any Chicago will attorney can tell you a tale about a court-appointed executor who winds up causing problems because he or she simply didn't understand or care about the wishes of the deceased person. A Chicago will attorney can help you choose someone who has the right skills, is trusted by the family, and who will execute the will faithfully.
Mistake #2: Trying To Mix Assets
Family fights and bad blood can be avoided if your will clearly outlines what each heir inherits and what should be done with the bulk of your estate. Many people who are executors, however, attempt to mix assets or don't fully understand the importance of keeping specific bequests separate. If there is an independent life insurance policy in effect or joint accounts that your loved one had with another individual, the situation can be even more confusing. To make sure that you don't mix assets and that you understand which assets should be included or left out of the estate, consult with a Chicago will attorney.
Mistake #3: Not Making Funeral Plans
This is a crucial aspect of an estate that is often overlooked by individuals trying to write their own wills. They assume that their children or grandchildren will be able to make the funeral arrangements themselves. Sadly, this often leads to unnecessary bickering when everyone is trying to mourn and when most people are particularly sensitive to criticism. One person may feel that a cherry wood coffin and a lavish funeral with hundreds of mourners is appropriate while another heir may feel that their loved one would have preferred a private send-off with minimal fuss. A Chicago will attorney can assist you in outlining your funeral wishes clearly and in detail so that your descendants don't have to go through the painful process of making arrangements.
Mistake #4: Not Appointing A Guardian For Your Children
No one thinks they will die while their children are still young, but it has happened often enough that every parent should prepare in advance for the possibility. Without stipulating a guardian for your children, they could end up wards of the court and given over to a guardian you would not have chosen because of their age, a fundamentally different lifestyle, or a religious view that doesn't agree with your own. Talk to a Chicago will attorney at Peck Ritchey about choosing and appointing an appropriate guardian so that your children will be raised in a manner closely aligned with your own beliefs and child-rearing methods.
Mistake #5: Forgetting Fido
Despite their status as members of your family, pets are considered personal property by probate courts. That means your dogs or cats could end up being sold or given away if you don't specifically leave them to an heir who will care for and love them. A Chicago will attorney may also advise you to leave a specific amount of money to the person who inherits your pet or pets to defray the expenses of caring for your furry friend.
Mistake #6: Not Paying Off Debts Before Distributing The Estate
As the executor of an estate, you may discover that the heirs to an estate are anxious to get their fair share of the inheritance. Often, they will want the executor to distribute the funds as soon as possible, not understanding or caring that there may be substantial debts or obligations that have to be paid for out of the estate before the remainder is distributed to the heirs. When preparing your own will, a Chicago will attorney can assist you in writing clear instructions for paying off debts and obligations from a bank account set aside specifically for this purpose. This allows for quicker distribution of the estate, while protecting executors from liability if additional expenses are discovered.
At Peck Ritchey, a will attorney isn't just a lawyer who creates a standard document. He or she will be your advisor every step of the way, suggesting ways to structure your estate in order to protect your heirs and ensure that your final wishes are carried out faithfully. Visit our website to schedule an initial consultation.
Most people will tell you that being a guardian means being responsible for another human being for as long as necessary in order to protect them. While a guardianship is certainly about protecting your ward, it's also about a variety of other things, and there are various forms of guardianship in Chicago, each one different from the others. We have several attorneys who concentrate in this type of law who can walk you through the process of establishing a guardianship. In Chicago, your parents' rights or independence could be adversely affected if you don't understand that there are many different forms of guardianship and if you don't choose the appropriate arrangement to protect them. If you would like to be appointed guardian of your parents, the time to tackle the issue is before they need someone rather than when it is too late.
A Guardianship In Chicago That Addresses Day-to-Day Issues
The correct title for a guardianship that covers all of the large and small decisions of daily living, including scheduling doctors' appointments, providing education and comfort, and arranging for any kind of service for your loved one is a Guardianship of the Person. With this, you will be able to shop for groceries, choose a residence and take care of the daily needs of your ward. Being able to make health care and medical decisions for an individual is usually the most important aspect of this kind of guardianship. Chicago families should talk to us about establishing a guardianship of the person before dementia, illness or an accident impairs the ward's judgment. If you wait too long, it could be too late to establish the guardianship without court intervention.
Guardianships Covering Money Issues
Guardianship of the Estate ensures that the individual appointed as the guardian can access and use the funds in an estate in the manner outlined in the will of the person who has passed away. When you are the guardian of an estate, you can make all financial decisions so long as they are in the best interests of the ward. Many people establish this kind of guardianship when their children are still minors.
Guardianship In Chicago Can Be Limited By The Court
A limited guardianship is exactly what it sounds like – it gives the guardian limited rights to make certain decisions for the ward or wards, but not all of them. For instance, you may be appointed guardian of the person but without the ability to access funds set aside in a trust. In many cases, a separate guardian in Chicago is appointed for monetary decisions and for day-to-day decisions. In this way, the ward is protected from unscrupulous guardians who could have too much power over the individual. If the specific powers of a guardian aren't established in the paperwork, the court has the right to outline the specific details of the guardianship, curtailing some powers and upholding others.
Establishing A Testamentary Guardianship
A testamentary guardianship is usually established by parents or individuals who appoint people they approve of and have faith in as guardian of their minor children or ailing parents. In most cases, a will can designate a testamentary guardian or guardians, but these individuals aren't official guardians until the court formally appoints them as such. If you're considering appointing one or more guardians, Chicago attorneys can help you choose the right individuals for the job and walk you through the court process.
A Guardianship That Can Be Revoked
There is a form of guardianship in Chicago that isn't permanent. This is called a temporary guardianship and it's usually set up only in an emergency situation and usually doesn't last longer than sixty days. In most cases, a temporary guardianship is set up to meet an immediate need until a long-term solution can be put into effect or until the ward is recovered and can once again take care of his or her self.
Let Peck Ritchey help you determine what your family's needs are and assist you in choosing the best possible guardianship. Chicago residents who have had guardianships arranged by Peck Ritchey's estate and probate lawyers can rest easy knowing their loved ones are fully protected by law.
Many people watch legal dramas on television and think that an attorney spends the majority of his or her time in court, arguing before a judge or jury. While it's true that some attorneys work in litigation, there is one group of lawyers that dedicate themselves to helping their clients as they age. Getting older is certainly inevitable, but there are certain steps that an attorney that concentrates in elder law in Chicago can take to help older adults as they age.
Estate Planning Lawyers Who Work With Elder Law In Chicago
Estate planning is a major part of an elder law attorney's job. While many people know that estate planning is important, they don't really understand what this means. One of the first things that needs to be done is writing a will. A will can help your family members understand what will happen with your belongings after you pass on, which can help alleviate a lot of stress for your family members after you're gone.
However, a will isn't the only document that needs to be drawn up. You'll also need to create a power of attorney. This document is useful in the event that you're unable to make medical decisions for yourself, because it gives another person the authority to speak for you. A living will can also help with specific medical situations, such as if you're unable to breathe or eat on your own.
Guardianship Attorneys Who Specialize In Elder Law In Chicago
No one really wants to think about the day their parents are unable to care for themselves, but if this happens, it's important to work with a lawyer who can help with elder law in Chicago. These attorneys can assist you throughout the legal process of taking over your parents' medical decisions and finances, which can help keep older adults safe from scammers.
Planning For Unique Situations
Although it's hard to talk about, many people will need some sort of professional care as they age. An attorney who understands elder law in Chicago will be able to plan for long-term medical care, including cases of Alzheimer's disease. Long-term care can be quite expensive and these attorneys help families maximize care, while keeping finances intact.
If you're concerned with taking care of your aging parents or another beloved older adult, the best thing to do is to contact attorneys who specialize in elder law in Chicago. The professional team of attorneys at Peck Ritchey always keeps your family's best interests in mind. Working with a professional attorney who understands elder law in Chicago can help ensure that your family is well taken care of.